13Dec2013

The Best Hikes Around Niagara Falls

The Best Hikes Around Niagara FallsNiagara Falls has long been appreciated as a breath-taking visual spectacle, and with over 3,100 tons of water careening over its edge every second, it truly is a sight to behold. The Falls, however, provide more than just the passive entertainment of marveling at nature’s power. Formed at the end of the last ice age, the same powerful waters and glaciers that shaped Niagara Falls have created some terrific hiking in the area as well. Whether you’re looking for a hike you can do with children or a workout that gets even the most stalwart lungs and legs burning, the area around Niagara Falls won’t disappoint.

The Niagara Gorge Trail System

The Niagara Gorge Trail System has over 15 miles of trails that run from Niagara Falls, Canada to Lewiston, New York. Many of the trails follow a path parallel to the water, providing hikers with fantastic views of the sedimentary rock walls that were carved out by glaciers and the Niagara River. Each trail in the system has age recommendations so hikers can adequately gauge how difficult or easy a hike is likely to be. From flat, wide trails that almost feel like thoroughfares to hikes that feature boulder hopping and steep, angular stairs requiring almost as much mental energy as physical verve, the Niagara Gorge Trail System has something for everyone. If you can, bring a pair of binoculars with you. Birds abound throughout the entire trail system and region, with peregrine falcons, ducks, kingfishers, gulls, loons and more ready to be spied by an attentive eye. Guided tours are available during the warmer months if you’d like a history and geology lesson along with your sightseeing and exercise. These tours run only a few dollars per person and begin at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center.

The Upper Great Gorge Hike

The Upper Great Gorge hike takes approximately two hours and has no age requirement, which makes it fitting for almost anyone. The ease with which it can be traversed allows for great views of the Niagara River without the physical stress of other, more challenging hikes. The hike begins at the Trailhead Building and follows along the Great Gorge Railway Trail.

Devil’s Hole Rapids and Giant Rock

The Best Hikes Around Niagara FallsLocated on the American side of the Niagara River inside of Devil’s Hole State Park, this hike will take most hikers about two-and-a-half hours to complete. As the hike is moderately difficult, it is recommended that hikers be at least eight years old. The trailhead leads out from the park and immediately descends 300 feet toward what is known as the Devil’s Hole Rapids, a churning section of water that is engaged in a never-ending boil. From there, this trail will take you along the former trolley railway and by Giant Rock, an oddly shaped, large piece of rock that refused to budge when the land was blasted to make way for the railway. The Devil’s Hole area lends itself to ghost stories and mythology, in part because of a massacre that occurred in the late 18th century. Here, Seneca warriors attacked a troop of British soldiers and made short work of 350 men as well as their animals and supplies when they drove the whole lot over an embankment and into the rapids below.

Whirlpool Rapids Adventure Hike

This hike is certainly of the more difficult variety. It is open to park guests who are at least 8 years old, but if anyone in your group feels hesitant about the prospect of boulder hopping, he or she should probably skip this adventure. This three-hour hike is the most difficult of the entire trail system, but completing it is extremely rewarding. Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes!

Rim Trail

The Best Hikes Around Niagara FallsAnother hike attractive to the less energetic crowd, this popular trail connects Horseshoe Falls with the Upper Great Gorge Trail and heads on to the Whirlpool Rapids. It provides plenty of stunning views without any physical hardship. There is no age requirement, and the terrain is remarkably simple and level. If you do take the trail out and back, you’ll be clocking about 4.5 miles. However, you should still be able to complete it in roughly two hours. Hiking in and around the Niagara Falls region is one of the cheapest, simplest and most memorable pleasures that the area has to offer. Whether or not you’re a nature lover, experiencing the wild beauty of the place among its native fowl, fish and flora is guaranteed to be a treat — especially because it will be accompanied by the feeling of clean, brisk air in your lungs and swift, pounding blood in your veins.

About the Author: Jess Bailey is a contributing writer who spends every summer hiking around the Niagara Falls region. She recommends http://www.niagarafallshoteldeals.com/ for anyone looking to vacation in the area.

 

Author: Jess Bailey
Edited By: The CampTrip Team

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